First things first, the staff and board of the WLT support Black Lives Matter and the movement for racial equity and justice. Period.
We have been talking a lot these last two weeks about the ways the WLT can meet the challenge of this moment and take meaningful steps that will live up to the responsibility we have as the largest literary arts organization in Texas. Most important, we've talked about making a measurable impact and holding ourselves accountable when this moment is past so that we continue to do better not only this year but the next year and the year after that.
While we don't have all of the answers (we're writers, after all; we write to
the answers), we know where we want to start and we know that we must start now.
Our commitment to our community:
1) Because we believe that racial equity should be a priority in every area of our programming,
the WLT commits to increasing the number of Black writers and industry experts we pay to teach and present, as well as the number of Black writers we invite to join panel discussions, readings, and other WLT events, by no less than 50% in the next year.
2) Because we recognize the importance of using our platform to celebrate Texas writers and stories,
the WLT commits to amplifying the voices, stories, projects, and achievements of Black writers across the state. We will do this weekly, via our newsletter and our social media platforms, coupled with a larger commitment to amplifying all Texas BIPOC writers.
3) Because we want to lift up the next generation of writers,
the WLT will make no less than $2500 in scholarships available to emerging Black writers in the next year.
4) Because we know that accountability is crucial,
we will report back to our membership on each of these commitments quarterly. In one year's time, we will look ahead to the next year and put forth a new set of action items building on those outlined here.
In September, you'll hear from us again on all of these commitments and we expect to announce additional initiatives in the coming weeks. Until then, stay safe, wear a mask, and reach out if you have any writerly questions or concerns. As always, we're here for you.